Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Memorial Day Message

I again find myself apologizing for lateness. I went home for Memorial Day and was away from my computer. Still, this is a good message and I wanted to share it with you. In the interest of full disclosure, I deleted his personal contact information, which was part of his signature.

CAPT Larry D. Cripps is in the Chaplain Corps of the U.S. Navy serving the 4th Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force in New Orleans, LA. I received this as an email at work. I am very sure that it was originally an official message to the 4th Marine Division that was forwarded about the Navy.
Memorial Day: A Day for Honoring Our Heroes

By: CAPT Larry D. Cripps, CHC, U. S. Navy Division Chaplain/Assistant Chief of Staff for Religious Ministry, 4th Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, New Orleans, LA

Daniel Webster once said, "God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it."

While in Washington, DC recently, I decided to get up early before the crowds gathered and visit the Vietnam Memorial. There are four friends and an uncle whose names are inscribed on the Wall. Persons whose memory is surprisingly as fresh to me today as it was some thirty plus years ago. As I stood before each panel listing their names, it occurred to me that their tragic death helped earn for me every hour I live in freedom.

Memorial Day is a day of celebration and sadness. As Americans, we rejoice in our freedom and prosperity that is unmatched by any the world over. But when reading your way through the seemingly endless list of names reverently etched in the black granite wall of the Vietnam Memorial, they take us to a place in our hearts where there are wounds that can never quite heal, and where our grief must be gathered up like garlands in the arms and warmth of family and friends.

The late historian Stephen Ambrose wrote a book in recent years about America's citizen soldiers of World War II. He said, "They knew the difference between right and wrong, and they were unwilling to live in a world where wrong triumphed, and so they fought and they won, and we and all succeeding generations are the eternal beneficiaries of their sacrifice."

The same must be said of all who have fought in every conflict before and since that time-Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen. All have been unwilling to sit on the sidelines of history and witness dictators and demagogues crush the voices crying out for freedom.

That is the reason Memorial Day is so important and why people gather in every city and small town across America-to remember the sacrifices of our heroes, to celebrate their patriotism, to mourn their loss, to give thanks to those who in the prime of their youth gave their all and forever so that we and our children might still drink from the fountain of liberty.

And so Memorial Day is a day we remember heroic lives, known and unknown, brave souls lost in battles past and present. Brave souls like my four friends and dear uncle plus thousands more like them who now rest in hallowed ground across this nation and around the world. We remember and we reflect not merely on the memory of their loss, but on the meaning of their lives. They whisper to us in the stillness of our reflection-freedom, opportunity, and prosperity are precious blessings; they were not left to you in perpetuity, they were not gained without great sacrifice by us, and they will not be preserved without purpose and without valor by you. We must never forget their undying expectation of us and our unending obligation to honor them by protecting what was hard earned.

On this day of remembrance, we salute those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. We also salute our disable American veterans, not just for their sacrifice in war, but also for their continuing contribution to our nation in peace. And we salute all of our honored veterans for their years of distinguished service, for reminding us every day what we must do to keep our country free.

May God bless you, your families, and all that you do in the service of this great Nation and in the cause of freedom!

Semper Fi!
Chaplain Cripps
God first...Marines and Sailors always
CAPT Larry D. Cripps, CHC, USN
Division Chaplain/AC/S Rel Ministry
4th Marine Division, FMF
New Orleans, LA 70146

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Pot Calls Kettle "Black", Gets it Wrong

I understand that this is a little late as news items go, but in an example of mind-boggling arrogance and stupidity Jimmy Carter recently pronounced President Bush's administration as "the worst in history". You have probably already seen or heard this discussed in the media.

I enjoyed reading a column discussing Mr. Carter's self serving comments by the moderately conservative Christopher Hitchens at the reliably liberal Slate magazine.

Peanut Envy
"Worst in history," as the great statesman from Georgia has to know, has been the title for which he has himself been actively contending since 1976. I once had quite an argument with the late Sen. Eugene McCarthy, who maintained adamantly that it had been right for him to vote for Ronald Reagan in 1980 for no other reason. "Mr. Carter," he said, "quite simply abdicated the whole responsibility of the presidency while in office. He left the nation at the mercy of its enemies at home and abroad. He was the worst president we ever had."
And Eugene McCarthy could never be classified as anything like a conservative.

Here's more;
In the Carter years, the United States was an international laughingstock. This was not just because of the prevalence of his ghastly kin: the beer-sodden brother Billy, doing deals with Libyan President Muammar Qaddafi, and the grisly matriarch, Miz Lillian. It was not just because of the president's dire lectures on morality and salvation and his weird encounters with lethal rabbits and UFOs. It was not just because of the risible White House "Bible study" sessions run by Bert Lance and his other open-palmed Elmer Gantry pals from Georgia. It was because, whether in Afghanistan, Iran, or Iraq—still the source of so many of our woes—the Carter administration could not tell a friend from an enemy. His combination of naivete and cynicism—from open-mouthed shock at Leonid Brezhnev's occupation of Afghanistan to underhanded support for Saddam in his unsleeping campaign of megalomania—had terrible consequences that are with us still. It's hardly an exaggeration to say that every administration since has had to deal with the chaotic legacy of Carter's mind-boggling cowardice and incompetence.
Amity Shlaes at Bloomberg has a few things to say as well;

Carter Takes the Prize Among the Worst Presidents
But it is in the area where Carter assails Bush -- foreign policy -- in which he took the missteps that turned out to be of greatest consequence. By negotiating the soft Strategic Arms Limitations Treaty (SALT) with Moscow, he suggested to the Soviet Union that his administration wasn't serious about protecting American interests. This emboldened Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev to send troops into Afghanistan in 1979. The later Soviet withdrawal led to the chaos that allowed Afghanistan to become a sanctuary for al-Qaeda.

Hostage Crisis

Then came a new kind of crisis. Heretofore, Arab nationalism had dominated unrest in the Middle East. Now Islamic fundamentalists stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, taking 66 Americans hostage. Instead of seeing the attack as an assault on U.S. interests, Carter treated the terrorists as if they were college sophomores staging a sit-in at Columbia's Low Library. His approach involved group-prayer sessions at home and endless negotiations, telling the press that "we are using every channel." This virtually ensured the year-and-a-half-long siege that the hostages endured.

Carter did veer from his passivity to make a half-hearted rescue effort, a catastrophic mission. But shocked by the photos of malfunctioning helicopters, Carter retreated. His handling of the embassy crisis sent a message that the U.S. prefers sanctimony to fighting back against violent fundamentalist Islam. That picture of wishy-washy America is still costing lives today.
As always, read them all.

Monday, May 21, 2007

My Absence

As both of you, my dear readers, have noticed, I have been away for a bit. My employer, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS), has assigned me to work on the USS Ronald Reagan at North Island NAS in Coronado California. I will be here for a few months and then return home in late summer/early fall.

The disruption to my normal routine cause me to suspend blogging for a time, but now I shall start again.

Thank you for your patience.